Join us as we review the Amazon superhero series, The Boys, on The Pilot Podcast. Hughie lives in a world where Vought International treats superheroes as a business. Can he and Starlight change the corrupt industry? Should cities really be buying and trading superheroes like athletes? Also, The Deep has disappointing superpowers.
The Boys is an irreverent take on what happens when superheroes, who are as popular as celebrities, as influential as politicians and as revered as Gods, abuse their superpowers rather than use them for good. It’s the powerless against the super powerful as The Boys embark on a heroic quest to expose the truth about “The Seven,” and their formidable Vought backing
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Welcome to The Pilot Podcast!
Where we watch the pilot episodes of TV shows and recap other shows to answer your question: Should I watch this?
My name is BJ.
And my name is Mitu.
And this week, we're checking out the Amazon Prime original, The Boys.
So stay tuned to the end to find out which side of the crime stopping industry BJ would be on.
The right side.
There is no right side in the show.
I know which side is right.
Okay, I trust that. If you know which side is right, then you know what happened in this first episode. Let the listeners know, what did we see in the pilot episode of The Boys?
Sure. So The Boys is a take on the superhero genre. We're set in a universe where they are superpowered people and they are saving the day. But it's also more of a industry in this world, run by Vought International. And so we meet our main character Hughie. And Hughie just livin' his life normally, and he's out with his girlfriend, and then a superhero by the name of A-Train, who's a speedster, runs by, he's running so fast, she's crushed.
He explodes her. He swallows a molar when he ran through her and the only thing left of her were her hands that Hughie was holding.
Yeah, he was still holding her hands. And it happened so fast that he just kind of looked up, and she was gone.
So this starts Hughie's anger and hatred towards superheroes because when A-Train appears on the news to talk about the event, he claims that he was trying to save someone and the woman walked out into the street at the wrong moment and got hit. When really she was like half a step off the sidewalk. There's no question crime happening at that time. So along the way, Hughie ends up meeting another character Billy Butcher, and he also has a hatred for superheroes and thinks that they are corrupt. And they end up teaming up together to try and do a little spy operation to plant a bug on the Seven. And the Seven is kind of the Avengers or the Justice League in this universe. So like our prime superheroes, the big names. We also have another plotline with a brand new superhero Starlight. She can emit light, but in a very lethal way. And she gets recruited as the newest member of the Seven, and she deals with some struggles where there's a power dynamic in the Seven. So as the new member she is sexually assaulted, harassed, blackmailed, literally the worst first day. And so now we see her, you know, trying to pull herself together because she doesn't want to disappoint her mother, who has been like a stage mom for her as she's been growing up with her superpowers.
And she also meets Hughie, who kind of motivates her to like, fight back. So she's got a new attitude and she's not gonna let the other members of the Seven continue to take advantage of her. And those are kind of our two running plotlines: Hughie joining these vigilantes, you're against the superheroes and Annie, who's a very genuine superhero who just wants to save the world, that's what she's always wanting to do first superpowers, joining a corrupt industry.
Yeah, it's an interesting commentary on how wrapped up we are in the Marvel Universe. It's funny that this show premiered after we freaked out over them at Con, like sharing all of the upcoming projects and features that they have. So it was was interesting to see them so prominently on display and so dominant in culture, and then having the show come out feeling like a commentary on that. Obviously, we're not allowing Anthony Mackie to run our local police forces or anything like that. But it was interesting to see the danger of putting too much power in someone's hands and too much trust in someone's hands.
It was an interesting commentary on that, because the fact that the public accepted, which we'll explore in this first episode, that Jesse T. Usher's character, which I love that he got this show, even though they're painting him in this horrible light, that A-Train was stopping a bank robbery, which is why he exploded this woman that he claimed was in the middle of the street, but was actually just right off the curb. And when they investigated it further, he may not have been stopping a bank robbery. There wasn't actually evidence that any bank alarms were even going on at the time that he ran into her, ran through her really. So the fact that the public allowed him to say that and all public institutions of safety allowed him to say that is a really interesting commentary on power and letting people have it. And I think it was Billy, the vigilante, who was saying that people don't necessarily trust the superheroes are doing the best job, they just don't want to look for themselves.
Yes. And we also see the company Vought International who kind of runs the superhero industry, we see how much it's important to them to make profits.
It becomes less about saving the day and more about improving your brand, getting better public ratings. We even see a thing that has some slave trade commentaries, where it matters what people think of superheroes coming to your city, and cities are going to have to pay large amounts of money to even recruit. So maybe it's also sport recruiting, as well. Lots of commentaries on how the business side of things affect something that should be just for the greater good.
Yes, the fact that she was trying to sell a superhero named Nubian Prince who did well with 59% of white people. And she was only trying to sell him to urban cities. So he's in Detroit, she was talking to the Baltimore mayor to buy him, or a representative from Baltimore brought up some interesting things that we can't spoil now, but I imagine will come up later in the series. And when he tried to negotiate down her asking price of $300 million for the superhero, she was like, I have Atlanta waiting in the wings. She has the urban cities on lock for Nubian Prince. Could you imagine yelling for help from Nubian Prince?
My Nubian Prince come save me!
That sounds like, you know those people that sell incense on the corner, and they have the names like "Michelle Obama Beautiful" or like... I'm sure Nubian Prince, is one of the names of those incense. So how did you feel about the pilot?
So I liked it. This is based off of a comic. So it's not an original property, but it's something that I'm sure the majority of people are not aware of.
I had no idea about it.
Same. So I think that this is a perfect time for this to come to a television series. Like you were mentioning, we are living in an age where superheroes are like a big brand with the Marvel movies, the DC movies. And I think it's appropriate to kind of ask some deeper questions using superheroes to bring people in that you don't see with the Avengers. We all know the Avengers are destroying cities, we know that probably millions of people are dying in the those buildings, but we just don't see them because it's Disney. And I think this show is going to address what would it really be like to have superheroes. And I like that idea of bringing more realism to it.
They talked about this on How Did This Get Made? Paul Sheer brought up the fact that during one of the movies, maybe the one before Endgame, Iron Man turns to the rest of the crew, the'yre in New York in Manhattan, "Evacuate everyone from 36th Street to 62nd Street!" Basically a completely unrealistic evacuation. Someone couldn't even evacuate my small apartment building in the small amount of time needed to get them safely away from the blast zone. But it felt like Marvel trying to make up for the fact that they're superheroes are obviously killing entire swaths of people in an attempt to get to whatever their names are. Thor is not the villain, right? What's his name?
BJ & Mitu 8:57
I don't know I did my baby Chris Hemsworth like that, because long hair Thor is the finest one of all of them.
But yes, they now insert those lines to be like, get the people out of here.
Speaking of putting all of our trust in superheroes with not always the best intentions, or even the best intentions, but not the best methods. Where do you see the show going with regard to how police institutions, policing institutions interact with these heroes.
I think in this universe, the policing institutions are really the second string benchwarmers or they really are leaving it up to the superheroes to make the call to like take care of crime and situations. So I don't see them playing a bigger role throughout the season. In my mind, the police, or even just any sort of policing institution are replaced by superheroes.
And do you know anything about the structure? So there's the top Seven?
But then there are a lot of other superheroes dispatched to different cities.
How does that work?
I don't know. I'm a little confused about where the Seven... what their district is. Because I imagine kind of going back to like sports teams, you have like your your home base, your home city, your home location, and then maybe the Seven are more like a broader regional thing.
Oh, you know, what, what if the Seven are almost like the FBI or the CIA, and then those smaller regional or city based heroes are local enforcement.
That makes sense.
Okay. Look at me answering my own questions. I don't need anybody. You want to know a fun fact?
Yes. You've been teasing this fun fact since we were watching.
Well, it's because I read an interesting article about the show. Listeners, I don't like to go into these episodes not knowing anything about the show, okay.
I go in blind.
I've embarrassed myself enough in these reviews, asking very obvious questions about what we're watching and so I've started doing my reading while we watch. So Simon Pegg, who makes an appearance with a pretty decent accent, as Hughie's dad actually wrote the introduction for the source material.
For the comic?
Yeah, so he was so interested in the comic that he is involved in both projects.
That's really cool.
Mmhmm that was... I thought it was such a fun fact.
It's fun. So speaking of Simon Pegg, he plays Hughie's father.
What did you think of how he treated Hughie during this time of grieving?
That's a good question. I think he was just trying to help his son survive. So Vought tried to give you a $45,000 settlement, in exchange for what they call a boilerplate NDA, to not talk about what happened to the love of his life. His father encouraged him to sign it, but I think not just for the money, which is what he mentioned. But also and I don't know if I'm doing some projecting, but if you go up against the superheroes, I assume you'll lose every time, you're just going to want to go with whatever they say, because they're far too powerful, and far too unchecked. And so he encouraged him to sign it. And Hughie got mad and walked away. So I get why he did it. Was it messed up? A little bit, a little bit, because he knows that his son was totally torn up. He knows that that woman was the love of his life. He knows that the superheroes are lying about the circumstances in which she died. But I think he's just trying to protect the kid. I don't think it was just for $45,000, which is a wildly insulting sum of money. I don't know what the right sum is for someone's life but $45,000 ain't it.
You can get better life insurance coverage than that.
Yes. Also, fun fact, actual fun fact. So I was listening to the You're Wrong About... podcast, and they were talking about the Anita Hill testimonies. And apparently, when people launch sexual harassment claims at work, there's a cap basically on how much your settlement can be and juries don't know that. So when juries award like 10's of millions of dollars to people, very rarely is that actually the number given. So when you read an article, that's like, you know, she put up with all this harassment, and therefore she's getting $90 million, or something. I think she ultimately ended up getting in the one they talked about in the episode, the record breaking person ended up getting $5 million, which is still a lot of money, but it's certainly not $90 million.
And so they're fine with the jury saying these ridiculously high numbers because they're like, it doesn't matter. It sounds good in the press, and we don't actually have to pay it. So speaking of the horrible way that your workplace can treat you. What do you think Starlight should do in her situation? And do you think Vought International will intervene on her side?
They certainly won't intervene. So basically, listeners, Starlight, we won't spoil it, although it feels silly to talk about sexual assault as a plot point. But one of the other people in the Seven sexually assaults Starlight and basically coerces her because they tell her that they control her fate of getting on the Seven. And because she grew up with her mom as a pageant mom just pushing her pushing her pushing her to be a superhero. She did not run away, I guess is the word. She just went along with it in order to reach her goal and reach her mom's goal for her, which is just being a team player.
Like smile through it, something very depressing that she said.
Yeah, just really... So in the source material, she actually does run for help, but to other heroes that she runs to for help end up assaulting her as well, which we see that teased a little bit in the episode. They don't assault her, but they certainly don't help her.
Yeah. And they clearly know what happened to her.
They for sure know what happened to her. So I don't think she's going to get any help from the heroes. What I actually potentially envision and would love to see is her and he's stories colliding. We saw that a little bit in this episode where they gave each other a pep talk not knowing who the other is. And so I'm curious about actually, if she will undoubtedly see all the shady things her cohort is up to
So I'm curious about if she'll go looking for answers. And he's still looking for answers as to why A-Train was running like that that day, because we don't think it was a bank robbery and them finding each other on that path. And maybe being reluctant collaborators in search of the truth because he doesn't trust heroes anymore and she I don't think can trust anyone.
It's going to be interesting. I do see their storylines colliding. For me, the question is, will Starlight full on join or support the vigilantes to take down the Seven or just like the way the superhero industry is? Or is her genuine hopes for what superheroes can represent, will that motivate her to want to reform things rather than like just tear it all down?
I see. I mean, that's the question of any revolution is... that sounds so serious. But it's true, it's do you work within the system and fix it within the system? Or do you tear the system down because it's far too broken, not even broken, but set in the way that it works, which is not good for people? So do you tear it down and start over?
I would say tearing it down is probably the easier path.
She needs to tear down. And I'm excited to see more of her powers. We only get a taste of them in this episode. But I bet she's going to turn out to be maybe more powerful than most of them. And I see her going up against Homelander who is the main leader of the Seven. I would love to see their powers go head to head at some point this season.
I can see that being like a season finale battle.
Yeah, that would be a fabulous fight.
It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's a book about superheroes.
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Again, that's audibletrial.com/thepilotpod. Happy listening.
And now back to our show. So speaking of the world of superheroes, what did you think of the glimpse we got at the superhero club, where they're able to use their powers freely?
Y'all, there is a sex club for superheroes that they infiltrate, that Billy and Hughie infiltrate at some point during the episode and there are some things that happened that BJ clocked immediately and took me a few minutes to understand. And it's a... it's an experience to take in.
I think there was also one other superhero you might not have noticed.
She stretchy guy?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
One thing I would suggest for listeners though, if they do want to check out the show is that it's quite violent. There are some pretty gross bloody scenes, there's a final fight scene where blood is used as a tool of the fight.
It's key in the fight.
So it is a little gross, speaking of sex clubs and violence.
And speaking of the sex clubs, there is nudity, male and female nudity.
Be prepared and don't let someone too young watch this.
That's true. Although I like when shows have both male and female nudity. Not that I want nudity. That sounds weird. I actually took a class on this in college where there are power dynamics with only the women or feminine presenting people being naked and no one else. So if we're going to do nude, everyone get naked.
Exactly. We all have bodies.
Yes. And bodies are just bodies.
Yes, long as they're not touching you when you don't want them to.
Oof, yeah, talk about it.
Oh, before we go, I just want to have a brief conversation so the listeners can hear our thoughts on the superhero powers for the Deep.
What a worthless set of powers.
So he can communicate with aquatic life and thrive underwater.
Kind of like Aquaman, but at least Jason Momoa look strong and makes it cool.
Chace Crawford just looks like a guy that can swim really well.
And not even like super well, just like Olympic level well.
Like Michael Phelps could also be the Deep if he learned how to speak whale like Dory.
Also, that felt like a power that you would just show off to your friends. Like, guess how long I could stay in the pool.
Yeah, how does that get you into the top seven superheroes?
The top seven because some men get to fail up.
That is failing up to be like, let me tap on your fish tank and show you a little trick.
Yeah, shocking. So Beej, what would you rate Amazon's The Boys?
I would rate The Boys would watch again casually.
The only reason I'm putting it at casually instead of seriously is because these are one hour episodes. And I think the story is really interesting. I like all the aspects that it's going for. It's just a lot in one sitting. So I need to like pace this out if I'm going to get through it.
I totally agree. I would watch again casually not only for the hour long episodes, but also because it's so violent and bloody and can be angering if you start connecting these themes outwardly. Like I definitely did a lot of thinking of who are we putting too much trust in and blah, blah, blah. So it feels like for any of our listeners who watch BoJack Horseman, which is also a really dark show, that's a show I have to watch in waves. I can't just crush entire seasons of it. And this fits into that but it is good. I liked it.
Yeah, and speaking of seasons, it's already been renewed for a second season.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai